Given the increased access of antiretroviral therapy (ART) throughout the developing world, what was once a terminal illness is now a chronic disease for those receiving treatment. This requires a paradigmatic shift in service provision for those affected by HIV/AIDS in low-resource settings. Although there is a need for psychosocial support interventions for HIV-affected youth and their caregivers, to date there has been limited empirical evidence on the effectiveness of curriculum-based psychosocial support groups in HIV-affected families in low-income countries. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the feasibility and assess the preliminary effectiveness of a psychosocial support group intervention for HIV-affected youth and their caregivers in central Haiti. The study was conducted at six Partners In Health-affiliated sites between February 2006 and September 2008 and included quantitative as well as qualitative methods. HIV-affected youth (. n = 168) and their caregivers (. n = 130) completed a baseline structured questionnaire prior to participation in a psychosocial support group intervention. Ninety-five percent of families completed the intervention and a follow-up questionnaire. Psychological symptoms, psychosocial functioning, social support, and HIV-related stigma at baseline were compared with outcomes one year later. Qualitative methods were also used to assess the participants' perspectives of the intervention. Comparing pre- and post-intervention assessment, youth affected by HIV experienced decreased psychological symptoms as well as improved psychosocial functioning and social support. Caregivers (95% HIV-positive) demonstrated a significant reduction in depressive symptoms, improved social support, and decreased HIV-related stigma. Although further study is needed to assess effectiveness in a randomized controlled trial, corroborative findings from qualitative data reflected reduced psychological distress, less social isolation and greater hope for the future for families affected by HIV/AIDS following the intervention.
- Mental health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science